February 8, 2010

John Murtha has died...

... and the Democrats must again fight for their political power in another special election.


Unknown said...

To a television crew following him in a House office building with questions about potential conflicts, he held up his miniature red, page-worn copy of the Constitution.

"What it says is the Congress of the United States appropriates the money," he said. "Got that?"

And spend they will.

Anonymous said...

He's gone to his own private Okinawa. I hope he finds peace there.

Automatic_Wing said...

Should be fun. Lots of bitter, clingy goodness.

Curtiss said...

Another opportunity for Obama to campaign for a Democrat candidate. Obama won't be able to resist. The candidate won't be able to say no.

The outcome will be the same as Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey. It's almost a rule now.

wv: memethin = Jenny Craig

Fred4Pres said...

Politically I really disagreed with him. And he betrayed fellow Marines on Haditha. But he did serve honorably in Korea. RIP.

Anonymous said...

I expect that pork will be the main course at his post-funeral luncheon.

Chase said...

RIP Marine.

Lem said...

A little bird told me Senator Bird will be next ;)

Skyler said...

(I posted a version of this on a former colleague's website http://coalitionoftheswilling.net)

I met him when I was in Haditha. Had no idea who he was, he wasn’t in the national eye quite yet. He had a lot of very hot aides with him, they looked extremely out of place in Iraq. We had to put on quite a dog and pony show for him. I threw away the trinket he handed me, didn’t know its significance. Wish I had it now, as a curiosity. It was a very high quality key ring with a velvet bag. I’m sure a lot of tax dollars went into making it.

A few months later the battalion relieving us killed all those families without any reason and the battalion commander,um, failed to investigate it appropriately. They would have gotten away with it were it not for Murtha.

Sadly, Col Davis (commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team 2) didn’t pick up general because he allowed a battalion commander to snow job him on that massacre.

But Murtha was the one of the most corrupt politicians ever. He was against the war simply for political power. I don’t like speaking ill of the dead, but he was pretty proud of being so corrupt so I don’t feel a need to pretend he wasn’t. Good riddance.

For all the anti-war crap he spouted, at least he came out where the war was being fought. He’s the only politician I saw or know of that went outside the huge bases. We called Al Asad the “land of cupcakes and ice cream” and if that’s as far as a politician or dignitary went, they had no idea what was really happening. I disagree with his politics and his bragadocious corruption, but he had balls to go out where things were actually happening. At the time, our battalion was the focus of the enemy’s efforts in Al Anbar.

For all the aspersions being cast on him for speaking out against the Marines of 3/1 (3d Battalion, First Marines) that killed those families, he at least understood what 3/1 seemed to not understand. The Iraqi people were not our enemy, they were an ally in the waiting and killing Iraqis pel mell is not the way to making them active allies.

JAL said...

Murtha never apologized for convicting those Marines in the press of murdering Iraqi civilians "in cold blood" at Haditha, Iraq, did he?

That a former Marine in his position he held disturbed me greatly.

JAL said...

Help me out Skylar, I seriously thought the Marines were found not guilty.

Have I mis-remembered that?

Freeman Hunt said...

Sad. And to die from a complication--frustrating.

Lem said...

Charges have been dropped JAL

Skyler said...

None were found not guilty that I'm aware of. A lot of chares were dismissed. Not the same thing.

The ones most likely to be found culpable had the charges dropped because the military justice system requires it if there is the slightest hint of pressure from the government to convict. So, in a way, Murtha saved them.

Unknown said...

Murtha can be the new poster boy for health care reform!

JAL said...

Murtha apparently died from an infection.

But gall bladders can be tricky in that one can have an infected gall bladder and not know it .. and go septic (infection spreads through the blood throughout the body affecting all systems).

Sepsis is not good, even in these days of antibiotics, and with older people.

The election will be interesting.

Wonder if the retired military guy who ran against him in '08 is going to try again....

Anonymous said...

Lots of people fought honorably in many wars without becoming douchebags who succumb to the siren song of momentary press puffery.

Murtha was a corrupt slime. I won't miss him.

Kansas City said...

If you watched the abscam video, you would be horrified that a guy like Mr. Murtha could ascend to such a powerful and long term position in our government. He was about the best conceivable argument for time limits.

However, he served his country twice in time of war. To the extent my view of him as a politician is correct, he can cause no further harm. May he rest in peace.

JAL said...

One officer was tried and found not guilty. One Marine is still awaiting trial (!) Charges were dismissed in all others.

To presume they were guilty and it's just an error that lets them off is irresponsible.

Reading about the NCIS (not our TV guys) "interview(s)" in Haditha is not something to inspire confidence in NCIS. And downright troubling.

wv noble
Srly. Not what the investigation was.

Skyler said...

JAL, you're right, the one Captain was exonerated.

The battalion commander was relieved and the commanding general forced to retire. And it looks like I'm a bit out of date in that LtCol Chessani has been cleared by a board of Inquiry.

But you know what. My opinion of what happened, based having been in the same place about six weeks earlier, and on the statements of the men involved, has not been changed. I'm embarrassed by them and I don't like being associated with them.

Jim said...

Skyler -

Murtha never had enough honor to take back what he said about them being cold-blooded murderers - even the guy who was exonerated.

Whatever honor he earned through his service, he lost when turned into a corrupt politician.

He skated by too many years on a glory he deservedly earned in what he evidently thought of as another lifetime. He didn't bring any element of the Marine code honor to Congress with him.

The entirety of the country is better off without him debasing our legislative process any longer.

I would have preferred that the country be rid of this cancer on the body politic through an election rather than through his death.

I hope that he finds a forgiveness and presumption of innocence that he wasn't willing to extend to others before he passed.

Methadras said...

If reincarnation was real Murtha would come back as a man. After all, in this life he was a pig.

Revenant said...

John Murtha has died


Humperdink said...

So the "King of Pork" has passed on. What a legacy.....the citizens of this once great country should erect a monument to this gentleman with the caption "I led the charge to bankrupt the US and am damn proud of it"

Casting pearls before swine.

Unknown said...

Marine or not, he was one of the most corrupt politicians in the country and one of the most cynical spendthrifts. He was the living embodiment of everything that's wrong with the Democrat Party.

And, by the definition in the Constitution, he was a traitor. He gave aid and comfort to the enemy in time of was, and the worst part is that it was purely partisan politics. No ideology, no principles, just political gain.

The Kos Kidz and our own dear Lefties will try to turn this into the same kind of slime they disgorge when somebody they dislike is sick, hurt, or dies. I'm not going to dance on his grave or gloat about how he died, but I'm not going to be a hypocrite, either.

In any case, there seems to be something cosmic going on here. Greek tragedy at the very least.

Part of it is the fact that a lot of the Congressional lifers are dying off, but it seems the gods, having given the Lefties a neo-communist in the White house and super-majorities in congress, also run by neo-communists, have frustrated their attempts to turn the country into the United Soviet Socialist States of America and are now in the process of destroying those majorities in what may turn out to be a major ideological generational shift.

May you live in interesting times, indeed.

The Drill SGT said...

Fred4Pres said...
Politically I really disagreed with him. And he betrayed fellow Marines on Haditha. But he did serve honorably in Korea. RIP.

and Vietnam 66-67.

Semper Fi Marine

As for the infection? I saw a news report that said the surgeon unknowingly cut Murtha's bowel and they stitched him closed. Then whoopsie, he developed an infection.

belly wounds have always been a nasty way to die.

A Bethesda Naval Surgeon did the laparoscopic surgery

Anonymous said...

"...However, he served his country twice in time of war.."

But he spent the rest of his life serving himself.

Pig in the trough.

Alex said...

Didn't he say our Marines in Iraq are Nazis or something? Screw him like the good Markos would say! RIH.

RIH = Rest in Hell

AllenS said...

Murtha never served in Korea. He did serve in Viet Nam as a REMF. Which tells me a lot about his views concerning grunts.


Skyler said...

REMF is such an ignorant, and relative term. He was a battalion S-2. It's not like he was with the USO. There's no need to disparage his military service.

AllenS said...

I'll bet you're a fucking leg, Skyler.

AllenS said...

When a man is a grunt, the words REMF have real meaning. Especially when you get out of the field, and get to spend some time in the rear area.

Skyler said...

Allen, if you thnk a man can be a battalion intel officer and not get out in the boonies then you know less about the military than you might think.

And "leg" where I come from means someone without jump wings. So yeah, I'm a leg. Go stuff that in your self righteous ignorance.

I love the "I'm more military than you" games. Usually the ones calling other people REMF either were never in the military or spent much of their time cleaning the head or on mess duty because they were screwups.

Monkeyboy said...

I wonder how he compares to Duke Cunningham. Man was pretty much a real hero in war, but threw it away through corruption.

Why does Murtha, with les of a record in war and more corruption after get a break?

I'd rather truct Cunningham than Murtha, and not just because he's a fellow sailor and one the reasons I joined.

The Drill SGT said...

Skyler said...
REMF is such an ignorant, and relative term.

Ignorant NO. It is a wonderful term of disparagement that stngs appropriately. If it applies, it ought to hurt. If it is tossed around randomly, it's laughed off.

Relative, Yes. As you kno Skyler, the Army or Marines are a pointy edged spear. Literally the grunts on point are the point of that spear and they look back and call everynody behind them REMF's. The rest of the grunts look back and do the same. I was in Armor. We're behind the grunts, so I agreed with them to a point, and then look over my shoulder and call the Artillery, signal, etc REMF's which they truly are. It's a pecking order, relative insult.

but not ignorant :)

Automatic_Wing said...

Ignorant NO. It is a wonderful term of disparagement that stngs appropriately. If it applies, it ought to hurt. If it is tossed around randomly, it's laughed off.

Forgive me for asking, maybe it's an Army thing and I wouldn't understand, but why should it sting? Somebody needs to be in the rear moving supplies or loading bombs on planes or whatever. The way the the American military fights every single GI is not going to be kicking down doors in Fallujah.

TWM said...

He was corrupt (ABSCAM) and he betrayed his fellow Marines (Haditha). Other than that I am sure he was a swell guy.

Oh, and Skylar, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. And as to you not wanting to be associated with those Marines, well, I am sure the feeling is mutual.

Franco said...

I am wondering why so many politicians feel they deserve to "serve us" for life. This guy was 77 years old.

I'll make a deal with these politicians. Retire at a reasonable age and give me some time to forgive and forget your corruption and self-important crusades. Then I will say something nice about you when you die.

Congress has just become slightly less corrupt. Hooray!

AllenS said...

Maguro, REMFs have a sense of entitlement, and they don't extend it to grunts. When you get out of the field, you want to shower, relax and drink some beer. REMFs oftentimes want to fuck with you. Remember, most of them will outrank you. All grunts realize the importance of the artillery, mortar squads, and the supply depot that takes care of you. Most of them, that you have interaction with are enlisted men.

Calypso Facto said...

Murtha did the military no favors by stuffing its budget with unwanted items:

Murtha added more than $100 million in earmarks to the fiscal 2008 defense bill, nearly a fifth of the total inserted by all Democrats, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. Every earmark reflects a project that the Pentagon did not seek in its budget request, and some of Murtha's earmarks benefited clients of a lobbying firm called PMA Group, now under FBI investigation for possible violations of federal election law. PMA is run by a former Murtha aide, and some of its clients were donors to Murtha campaigns.


And watch those REMF aspersions "treadhead", from a former Ranger/light infantry artilleryman!

Humperdink said...

I have no military experience...so I will couch my words carefully. I support our troops in combat and non-combat. My stepson was (not in now)a loadmaster ferrying troops in and wounded out of Iraq.

However once a person leaves the service, they are not immune from criticism. It used to turn my stomach to see the lame stream media fawning over Murtha and other Ashley Wilkes types ( Wesley Clark comes to mind )simply because they served. Especially when Murtha disparaged the troops. They gaves this clown a free pass.

MadisonMan said...

I appreciate his service to the USA. I think he stayed too long in Washington, but that is true of many many (MANY MANY) politicians.

Humperdink said...

It will be interesting when the Emir of Pork (that would be Robert Byrd) passes on. Most highway contractors in WV will probably go out of business. As will the Robert Byrd signmakers.

I wonder if he will get buried in a white sheet.

Automatic_Wing said...

Thanks, AllenS, I get it. You're talking about front-line troops getting hassled by some Frank Burns type back at base camp.

Skyler said...

TRO wrote:

Oh, and Skylar [sic], you don't know what the hell you are talking about

Let's see, I was on the same road driving by that same house regularly for seven months ending just six weeks before this incident. I know a lot more than you do.

I read their own statements explaining that they shot four men in the back. No hostile act, no hostile intent. Four men in a car that stopped nearby because a bomb just went off. They were gunned down immediately. Anyone with a lick of sense in that area knew that the trigger man is not going to be in a car right near by and is not going to stop.

Then they claim they got a couple pot shots from a nearby house. Yeah, so what. Those people almost never hit anything. It's just a way to let off steam or show contempt many times. They stormed the house, "heard a noise" in a back room and threw in grenades, claiming that this is normal practice. They quickly learned that it was a family huddled in a corner of the room, and the killed anyone left moving.

So they said, oops, that was a family. So what did they do next? They went to the next house and did the same damn thing over again. It didn't occur to the sergeant that maybe they had a bad string going on here.

Okay, I know that mistakes get made, even big ones. This wasn't really a raging gun fight taking place within seconds. It was quite some time between the first bomb going off and then attacking the house.

But if they made a mistake, the wrong thing to do is to keep attacking, or failing that, the wrong thing to do is to lie about it. They stacked the 24 dead bodies onto two HMMWV's (what a sight that was, I'm sure) and told delivered them to the hospital (which is standard practice) and lied to the doctor, telling him they were killed by an IED.

Lies. Why do people lie? Just like with the climatologists, people lie beacuse they're trying to hide things. They knew they screwed up and they didn't want to get in trouble.

There were some bad people in Haditha, but most just wanted to be left alone. I have no idea if any of these people were in either category, but I do know from reading these Marines' own statements, that well disciplined Marines, you know the ones that aren't cleaning the heads every day, should not have acted this way.

Not that I like Murtha at all. He's a corrupt pig, and I'm glad he's gone. But he brought attention to a massacre that was being swept under the rug. It could well be that being more open about what happened helped to bring on the Anbar awakening sooner.

TWM said...


It seems you, like Murtha, judged these Marines before they were even tried. And you, like Murtha, have been proved wrong. Unfortunately he died before he had a chance to correct his mistake. Hopefully you will find the courage to do so before your time comes.

AllenS said...

Let's talk about cleaning the heads.

I'm a draftee. I've cleaned my share of latrines. Just like everybody else who lived in the baracks. We took turns. We also took turns sweeping, mopping and buffing the floor. Those are jobs that have to be done. Those shitty jobs help form that bond that soldiers share. Something that you and Murtha evidently missed.

Skyler said...

So, Allen, are you saying that characterizing one's experience based on arbitrary assignments and tasks is unfair?

JAL said...

But he brought attention to a massacre that was being swept under the rug.

There are ways to "bring attention" to a bad situation without convicting men by political fiat who should be presumed to be innocent.

This was especially egregious because of the anti-Bush anti-war (mostly partisan) viciousness going on at the time.

It certainly seemed a way of using a situation which had not yet been investigated through the proper channels to denigrate the US military, the President, the commanders and the war for political points.

And all the people so careful to refer to Hasan as the "alleged" shooter, and Abdulmutallab as the "alleged" bomber never corrected Murtha. They played it all over the place with a satisfied smugness of proof that our military represent evil.

And then there was the point that John Murtha was wrong about the war.

But he is gone. There are many people who will not forget him for both good and bad reasons.

Moving on.

Peano said...

An appropriate tomb for Murtha.

Skyler said...

And I don't "bond" with people who lose control and kill everyone within a mile radius just because one of my Marines got killed by an assassin who was long gone.

Skyler said...

And then there was the point that John Murtha was wrong about the war.

But he is gone. There are many people who will not forget him for both good and bad reasons

I won't miss him. He was scum in so many ways. I think he was over the top with the Haditha episode and the problem is that it caused a ridiculous political back lash where people insisted that our boys in green never do anything wrong. And thus all of the rest of us get their stain on us.

Calypso Facto said...

Will Murtha get one more shot at the government trough when his heirs file their malpractice suit? I'll be the first to admit I have no idea how malpractice works at a Naval Hospital.

AP WASHINGTON — A Pennsylvania congressman and longtime friend of the late Rep. John Murtha says the congressman’s large intestine was damaged during gallbladder surgery and the complications led him to be hospitalized.Murtha died Monday at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., where he was admitted Jan. 31.The gallbladder surgery was performed days earlier at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Skyler said...

Military doctors were immune to malpractice claims in the past, but that changed about 20 years ago. They are now subject to negligence and other torts like any other doctor.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why jump all over Skyler who, it seems, was much closer to the Haditha situation than any of us?

Humperdink said...

Am I the only one that sees the irony in Murtha's death.

He disparages the troops, finds them guilty before a trail.....then succumbs at the hands of a military doctor/hospital.

Cedarford said...

AllenS said...
Let's talk about cleaning the heads.

I'm a draftee. I've cleaned my share of latrines. Just like everybody else who lived in the baracks. We took turns. We also took turns sweeping, mopping and buffing the floor. Those are jobs that have to be done. Those shitty jobs help form that bond that soldiers share. Something that you and Murtha evidently missed.

Draftee where? When, AllenS? What country?

A little on the sum of John Murtha, who will be deeply missed and well-remembered by the military and Vets for far more good that harm. Such as Haditha:

Outstanding graduate in his Marine class in 1952. Kept on as a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, a high honor. Then nominated for OCS.
Served in the military and the Marine Corps Reserves until 1990 - thirty eight years - starting as an E-1, rising to Colonel.

In Vietnam, he volunteered for 2 years. He was in regular combat, receiving the combat infantrymans ribbon, 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. On his discharge, he received the Navy's distinguished service medal.

As a Congressman, Murtha made over 300 visits to bases and servicemen deployed overseas inc. war zones - spending many hours on each visit with troops from the top to bottom.
Murtha was a consistent champion and fighter for things the military and their families needed - from better logistics for the Marines to Tri-Care health for service members and their families.

All in all, few in Congress did more for the military than John Murtha.

Methadras said...

Cedarford said...

All in all, few in Congress did more for the military than John Murtha.

So the big pig put on a good public face to justify his deceit and corruption? Awww, how quaint. I hope he rots in whatever particular hell there is for pork chops like him.

Synova said...

"Why jump all over Skyler who, it seems, was much closer to the Haditha situation than any of us?"

I don't know that there is any reason to jump all over Skyler.

The Marines involved at Haditha were acquitted, however. That doesn't mean that they could not have reacted better than they did. It also, in any case, doesn't change what Murtha did. Murtha did what he did quite separately from their guilt or innocence.

What Murtha *did* was to behave as if he was powerless to ensure that the Haditha event was properly investigated unless he brought the event to the media and to global attention. He justified his slander and the slander of *all* of our soldiers with that implication that he had to rally the public for justice. The truth of it was that John Murtha, if he cared about the Truth rather than political leverage, was ideally situated to ensure that the event was investigated thoroughly and was ideally situated to make sure that justice was done.

But he brought it to the public as if he had no power and slandered both the Marines who were there as cold blooded murderers in tones that made no doubt that he *was* in possession of the facts, and then excused his words by slandering all of our soldiers as being on the tipping edge of atrocity... which wasn't their fault after all, and excused them in the same breath from any assumption of moral responsibility due to the stresses they experience.

For his troubles he was made the hero of Code Pink (and appeared hugging the pink clad crones) and anyone else who was inclined to believe that soldiers are warped human beings and trained murderers hovering on that precipice where only the smallest thing might tip them into the abyss.

It's hard to know what was the most vile thing... announcing those men guilty, or excusing them for it.

I really don't care how much money he finagled for the defense budget.